Here we are at the end of the first Sheltered story arc. And what an arc it was. A group of ‘preppers’ are doing what preppers do-contemplating the end of the world and best preparing themselves for the inevitable collapse of civilization. During this, Lucas rebels and convinces all the children to kill their parents. Things haven’t been going too well for the youth of Safe Haven, and it’s only getting worse. With issue five, we start out the day after the events that occurred last issue. Chris is dead, but if you caught it last issue, Tabitha saw Lucas kill him since she was hiding behind a tree as he shot him. Lucas continues his pathological lying while they’re standing around Chris’s body being cremated, saying that Hailey and Victoria were the ones that killed Chris. Lucas says that as a group they failed Chris, and he also says he’s failed Chris personally. He also finally lays down the line as far as food rationing goes, and puts Joey in charge of it. According to his plan and calculations, the food they have now has to last them three years, and the younger kids like Curt are taking bigger rations than they should. After Lucas is done talking, Joey furiously storms back to his trailer. Tab follows him, and tells him that she knows Lucas is responsible for Chris’s murder, not Victoria and Hailey.
Lucas then makes Curt and his friend (Daniel I believe his name is) burn Chris’s dog carcasses so they don’t attract other animals. He also takes away the kids’ rations for the day, and threatens to take away their rations for the following day if they screw up the job. This clearly shows Lucas has no disregard for human or animal life for that matter. Another small thing I picked up on last issue was that Lucas kept looking at this girl who was with Justin. We learn this issue her name is Nancy. Lucas interrupts one of their conversations, and Nancy seems very intimidated by him. Her face goes from laughing at something that Justin said to looking at Lucas with a frown and has almost a pained expression on. Lucas starts with his fantasy-ridden predictions for his benefit. It’s clear he likes this girl Nancy, so he tells Justin it’d be incredibly dangerous if he got her pregnant due to the situation that they’re in. He wants Justin to “put a stop” to their relationship since it’s a bad example in case other kids starting having kids. It’s crazy, and Justin doesn’t seem too thrilled. I’m sure this will escalate later on and I’m curious to see how it pans out. As far as the ending goes, let’s just say January 9th can’t come quick enough.
I loved the art as usual in this issue, but one problem I had with it was the lack of detail when our view of panels are zoomed out. For example, there’s one panel with the dead dogs that only one dog has puddles of blood next to it. But a few panels later, Curt steps in one of the puddles and his friend is in another one by a different dog. That’s my only critique though, as Johnnie Christmas continues to wow me with his art. His style is unique to me, I always look forward to picking up Sheltered every month and it’s always refreshing to see his art. The way he conveys emotion, especially in this issue, is top-notch.
The story in this comic is quickly becoming one of my favorites, and this book is just getting started. Right after I read it I contemplated for a while what will happen next and I think that’s the mark of a memorable read. The first trade comes out December 9th and collects this first story arc. If you’re reading this review chances are you’ve read other issues in the series, but if you want all the physical issues in one place with extras definitely check it out. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this next arc.
Writer: Ed Brisson Artist: Johnnie Christmas Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 11/20/13